Green Party National Women's Caucus challenges NOW to support the historic McKinney/Clemente presidential campaign
Distributed by the Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release
Monday, September 29, 2008
Morgen D'Arc, Spokesperson, 207-761-7797, firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Manning Myatt, Spokesperson, 248-548-6175, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Women's Caucus (http://greens.org/gp-uswomen) of the Green Party of the United States has sent an open letter to the National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org) urging support for the Green Party's presidential ticket. The text of the letter is appended below.
The letter cites Green nominee Cynthia McKinney's six terms in Congress and her unmatched dedication to the principles of equality and human rights championed by NOW. The National Women's Caucus emphasizes the historical role that alternative parties have played in the struggle for women's suffrage and rights, and notes that NOW has failed even to recognize the significance of America's first national campaign by two women of African descent: Ms. McKinney is African American and running mate Rosa Clemente is Black Puerto Rican.
OPEN LETTER TO NOW, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN
National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Dear National Organization for Women leadership and members:
The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States is dismayed that your recent endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States did not acknowledge the first all-female ticket in recent U.S. history. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are running for President and Vice President, respectively, on the Green Party ballot line.
Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the U.S. Congress and two terms in the Georgia General Assembly. She is a global human rights and peace activist with a substantial voting record supporting women. Rosa Clemente is a community organizer and journalist who was one of the founders and primary organizers of the first national Hip Hop political convention. Their "Power to the People" campaign goal is to ensure that public policy reflects the Green Party values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence.
Cynthia McKinney has been a steadfast supporter of full reproductive rights for women throughout her legislative career, including funding for contraception and UN family planning, and opposition to "abstinence only" sex education. Rosa Clemente has been an outspoken advocate on issues affecting people of color, particularly women, and has directed her campaign toward the 48% of young people who don’t vote, to encourage participation in the electoral process.
Additional positions of the McKinney/Clemente campaign that will benefit women include:
End to forced sterilization and coerced or uninformed consent procedures,
Immediate end to the War in Iraq and reinvestment of the money into our communities
Single-payer, universal "Medicare for All"
Election integrity where every vote is counted
Right to same-sex marriage
Free higher education
End to the drug war
Right of return of survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
Withdrawal from corporate trade agreements such as NAFTA that are devastating economies worldwide
Promotion of renewable energy (no coal or nuclear) to create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing, construction and service jobs
Neither Obama nor his Republican opponent John McCain support these positions.
The National Organization for Women PAC repeatedly praised Congresswoman McKinney during her six terms in U.S. Congress; and her record, on every relevant issue, surpasses those of the male endorsees. But now, these two women of color -- powerful and power-challenging, real choices, and nominated by a political party that proudly boasts Feminism & Gender Equity among our Ten Key Values -- don't even receive acknowledgment.
The National Organization for Women, at all levels, has long struggled over diverging feminist paths -- choosing either to press for change within the existing power structure, and its institutions, or to step outside of the expected and challenge the institutions themselves. In the view of the National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States, NOW has best served women when NOW has recognized, in the words of Audre Lord, that "when you look back on the road you've come, and see pain, and look forward to the road you're on, and see pain, then, step off the road, and make a new path."
We recall when NOW distributed buttons proclaiming that "Women were not born Democrats, Republicans, or YESTERDAY." We recall when the heroines of our heritage were Belva Lockwood, Alice Paul and Sonia Johnson, each willing to form her own political party, or run for president independently, or both. They were willing because that path provided fewer barriers to telling the plain truth, the truth that needed to be heard, than did service to the establishment parties. We even recall when NOW announced the formation of its own, alternative, political party, the "Party for the 21st Century," with Dolores Huerta at its head. We rejoiced when NOW sought to make a new path, because the old political road was simply too filled with the pain of condescension and compromise, deferment and settling for what was offered.
Even when NOW, through its political action committee, decided in the last two decades to bestow its endorsement on candidates from the over-represented political parties, it was to reward them for actually moving closer to the day when a woman might be president, with a Geraldine Ferraro and a Hillary Clinton sitting in the candidate car, and not just trudging behind it, pushing. But this past week, that endorsement reward was offered without even that, out of the same "fear of the alternative" that has driven women to set our own hopes, dreams and destinations aside, time and again, to let the men drive the car.
Belva, Alice and Sonia did not become president of the United States, but, with the support of the feminists of their time, speaking truth, each re-formed the vision that America had about women. While men can be feminists too, their institutions can only be deemed feminist if they produce equality. The dearth of elected women, at every level, is its own condemnation of the party structures that are the paved road of American democracy. It disappoints us greatly, that earlier this month, NOW has not made a new path. By failing to commend, or even comment on, the presidential candidacy of Cynthia McKinney and her Green Party running mate, Rosa Clemente, NOW is driving on the wrong side of history.
We invite the National Organization for Women, and feminists everywhere, to support the Green Party and the McKinney/Clemente campaign. Come walk the walk with us, and make a new path.
National Women's Caucus, Green Party of the United States
Nan Garrett, Co-Chair
Ginny Marie Case, Co-Chair
National Women’s Caucus Member Claudia Ellquist, National NOW Board member, 1990-94, participated in the drafting of this letter
National Women’s Caucus
Green Party of the United States
1711 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Abortion and contraception: McKinney is a firm supporter of abortion rights, appearing on EMILY's List of pro-choice women. She has also supported federal funding for contraception and U.N. family planning programs. http://socialissues.wiseto.com/Election2008/CynthiaMcKinney/#MajorElectionIssues
Quite a long statement on Women, Families and Children at
Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)
Supported funding child care, child health, & child housing. (Jul 1999)
McKinney immediately challenged Georgia House rules requiring women to wear dresses by wearing slacks
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House
Cynthia McKinney on video
Press conference, September 10 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5ivgS4asc
Speech in Denver, August 24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxgcjOjUEc
Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx1NPlQjkqo
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